South Korean watchdog cuts fine on Qualcomm after a decade-old legal battle

A Qualcomm sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China on November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s antitrust regulator has reduced the ten-year-old fine on the U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. with 18 percent to $200 million, the korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said on Thursday.

The cut comes after the Supreme court in January destroyed one of the several lower court rulings against the U.S. company for abusing its dominant position on the market.

In 2009, the KFTC fined Qualcomm 273 billion won ($242.6 million) for abuse of its dominant position on the market CDMA modem and radio frequency chips, which were then used in handsets made by South korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc.

The KFTC said it had reset the penalty to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling, adding, however, that ‘a monopolist company abused its position in the market may not be tolerated”.

The fine is the latest in a series of breaches of the representations and investigations that Qualcomm regulatory authorities all over the world.

In a separate case, the South Korean regulator fined Qualcomm $854 million in 2016, for what the so-called unfair business practices in patent licensing and modem chip sales.

Qualcomm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Ju-min Park; additional reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates

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